Diane Crawford was sound asleep in her Widgeon Lane home in the Mount Misery neighborhood after flying back home that evening from a trip to Disney World, when she was awakened at about 1:40 a.m. by her husband William’s “terrible, erratic breathing,” she said Tuesday morning from Stony Brook University Medical Center, where her husband is now recovering.
“I screamed out, ‘Daddy’s dying!’” she recalled, explaining that the exclamation was intended to get the attention of her 27-year-old son, Daniel, who was upstairs.
Ms. Crawford, 58, wasted no time, however.
A registered nurse at Southampton Hospital and former Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps member, she immediately started administering CPR—at first on the bed, but then, because the surface was too soft, she and her son moved the 6-foot-tall, 220-pound, Mr. Crawford, 67, to the floor. Her son had called 911.
Meanwhile, Daniel Crawford’s friend, Justin Dent, 27, who had been watching TV with the younger Mr. Crawford, ran outside to ensure that police found the right house, Ms. Crawford said.
When Southampton Town Police Officers Bartholomew Carey and Edward Henderson arrived, within minutes of the call, they found Ms. Crawford performing “quality CPR,” according to a police statement. They then took over the CPR and used an Automated External Defibrillator, AED, to help revive Mr. Crawford, a landscaper, who, according to his wife, had not had any previous heart problems.
“I want these two officers to get the recognition they deserve, to show that their training worked, because had they not come to my house with their defibrillator in the trunk of their car, my husband would be dead. It’s as simple as that,” Ms. Crawford said. “These two men, they’re my heroes.
“You’re dead within minutes of having a cardiac arrest,” continued Ms. Crawford, who actually teaches CPR to new parents at the hospital.
She also credited the Sag Harbor ambulance crew members who, along with the police, provided three “shocks” to her husband. They administered advanced life support and took him to Southampton Hospital. In the ambulance, he returned to consciousness to everyone’s delight, she said.
The couple were able to celebrate their wedding anniversary together on Sunday. Ms. Crawford said her husband joked that his incident got him out of having to get her a present, while she told him his present to her was surviving.
All Southampton Town Police officers are trained in CPR and defibrillator use, according to Police Chief William Wilson Jr.
“The two officers, as well as the Sag Harbor ambulance, just did a spectacular job, as did the family members that had initiated the CPR before their arrival,” he said. “I think it just goes to prove that early intervention and taking steps to initiate CPR saves lives. I’m very proud of the officers. I’m very happy for the family that the gentleman is still with us.”
As of Tuesday, Mr. Crawford was still at Stony Brook, where he had been transferred for further cardiac care.
“My husband’s plumbing is good, but his electricity is not,” his wife quipped. “We just want to continue on to a very happy ending.”